Queensland’s old fossils
No, this isn’t a story about retirement life on the Gold Coast!
In the past few days the discovery of a number of fossils in Brisbane that have been dated as about 50 million years old has been reported.. This dating puts them as originating about halfway through the life of the Australian landmass which began to drift away from Antarctica around 95 million years ago. To give an indication of the major changes that resulted from that incident, these latest discoveries date from a period when the whole of northeast Queensland was a tropical rainforest.
Scientists have hailed the discovery of rare fossils at a work site in Brisbane’s north as a potential world-first. “They fill part of the missing gap in the scientific knowledge about how animals evolved after a massive extinction that killed off the majority of animals on the planet.
The fossils were found 15 metres below ground in an oil shale layer. They are more modern than the dinosaurs that became extinct about 65 million years ago and have some characteristics similar to those found in modern animals.
Perhaps the most exciting find is that of part of a crocodile. Compared to the fossil of a modern-day crocodile, you are looking at something of the order of five metres long.A leading scientist said the crocodile found at Geebung was not the same as today’s freshwater or saltwater crocodiles.
As well as the crocodile, the thigh bone of what is believed to be Australia’s oldest frog was found and a fossilised fish with characteristics similar to a present day perch.
Arrangements are already being discussed as to how to best make these finds accessible to visitors and interested non-scientists.